I was away when they did it. The next day after the very next day, after waiting for the four foundation blocks of cement to cure, Eddy’s eldest boy, a compactly sturdy “lad” over 30 years old and the one most adept at arc welding, welded each of the four legs to their respective foundation plates.
To sum up, at this point, we have a robust multi-tiered tower base more than 20 feet in height, firmly planted, not to the ground, but into the ground, with plenty of concrete and steel.
Just to confirm what I already knew, I would go up to “my baby,” grab her with all my strength, such as it is these days, and try mightily to get some movement out of it. I could not get so much as a vibration. After doing that a time or two, I was convinced of its sturdiness. As high as I planned to go up with it I wanted to make completely sure, especially before I let my little girls clamber up and all over it. I was building it as much for my kids as I was for me.
Before we could go any higher with the tower structure, Eddy put his entire gang, all four of them, into establishing what I have come to refer to as “the factory.”
These fellows fascinate me the way they can take simple straight pieces of raw steel—whether it be round and flat bar, as well as angle iron and thick lengths of pipe—measure out what they need just once without ever writing anything down, cut it up using nothing but muscle and hacksaws, before welding all the myriad pieces into a finely finished product. For me, it’s amazing to see it happen, mainly because I know they make it look much easier than it actually is.
We were going to require lots of steps. In no time at all Eddy’s gang had a batch of them, maybe a dozen or so, plenty enough to begin the first stairway. Each step is a minor work of art. I can’t imagine trying to make one of them much less the 50 plus we would eventually need to take us all the way to tippy top of our glorious mangoes. Two boys would cut the angle iron to form the rectangular frame while another sawed and sawed the hundreds of pieces of round bar that formed the actual stepping surface.